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Leaving broken hearts and empty bank accounts, romance scammers give love a bad name. Now that you know how many people experience romance scams, and how to spot the scams, take some anti-scam action this Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re wondering if that interesting person who just messaged you is for real, looking forward to February 15 discounts on chocolates, or thinking about friends who are out in the online dating world, here are some messages to know and share about romance scams.

  • If an online love interest you’ve never met in person asks you for money, that’s a scam. No matter what story they tell you.
  • Never send money or gifts to anyone you haven’t met in person — even if they send you money first.
  • Only scammers tell you to buy gift cards, wire money, or buy cryptocurrency. And once you send that money, you won’t get it back.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your new love interest, and pay attention if they’re concerned. 
  • Report romance scams to the dating or social networking site, and to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Learn more at ftc.gov/romancescams. And share this blog series, video, and graphics with people who might need it — even if you don’t.

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